“When in spring, a young man’s fancy turns lightly to thoughts of…” raspberry muffins? Misquotes aside, I can’t think of much that’s more “springy” than delicate, tangy-yet-sweet raspberries. I found the originals of these muffins from Smitten Kitchen, and having made them to her specifications once, began to tinker. I must get it from my mom; I can’t seem to leave recipes alone. I always have to add a pinch more of that, or what if I put this in instead, or how about if…? The original recipe had nothing wrong with it; my husband gobbled them up like they were the last food on earth (which is his usual response to food — WHY is he still so skinny!?). But I had gotten a couple flats of raspberries at Costco, and began to plot…
Using buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream in a recipe instead of the usual milk is something from your fourth-grade science experiment. You remember, the one with the red volcano lava made of food coloring, baking soda, and vinegar? While baked goods made with milk can use only baking powder and/or cream of tartar, baked goods made with sour cream, yogurt, or (most importantly) buttermilk require a bit of baking soda in there. Buttermilk is my favorite of the three; I think these baked goods are lighter and moister than ones made with milk. When I saw that the original recipe called for sour cream, I knew I could use buttermilk to make the batter more liquid, which would be gentler for mixing in fragile raspberries. And then, of course, we needed a little (more) cinnamon, and since neither one of us likes nutmeg all that much, a little cardamom instead…but no one can complain about the amount of streusel in this muffin!
When it comes to whole-wheat flour, you can use store-bought, but keep in mind that whole-wheat flour begins to go rancid as soon as it’s ground. Try to buy one with a sell-by date as far in the future as you can, unless you can find a local place that sells freshly-ground flour or if, like me, you inherited a home mill from your grandmother. One of the homiest smells is fresh flour and if you can, you should mill your own. That said, I’ve never noticed anything really terrible about store-bought whole-wheat flour, as long as it was put into the freezer (in Ziploc) to keep if I didn’t finish the bag.
Back to the muffins. With the substitution of the raspberries and buttermilk, the muffins were definitely something my husband disposed of in one day, barely leaving me one (lonely) muffin for the next morning’s breakfast. Take it from him, these are great muffins!
- 1/4 cup white flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 TBS white sugar
- 3 TBS brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of cardamom
- pinch of salt
- 3 TBS butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 TBS white sugar
- 5 TBS butter, melted
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 to 1 1/4 cup raspberries, preferably fresh
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare a muffin tin (I use papers).
- In a small bowl, stir together dry ingredients, then mix in butter till crumbly. Set aside.
- Whisk egg together with sugars in a large bowl. Add butter and buttermilk.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients and then stir into the liquid mixture. Mixture can be lumpy; less stirring is better for a tender muffin crumb (pouring the flour mixture into the liquid mixture helps alleviate the need for excess stirring).
- Stir in about 1/3 of the streusel (about 1/4 cup), then gently fold in the berries. It's ok if some berries break, but try not to shred them.
- Divide batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle each with remaining streusel, and press down lightly but firmly to anchor the streusel.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, until tester comes out clean (mine took 15 in a dark pan). Enjoy!
- I thought of add-ins like lime or lemon zest, mini chocolate chips, or even white chocolate chips, but I opted to leave the muffins simple. I'm not a big fan of super-sweet muffins anyway, but let us know if you try a variation on the theme!
- Blueberries or diced strawberries would probably work, as would small blackberries. I might be more likely to add lemon zest if I were using some of these fruits.